[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Basques attempt to find coalition
PNV president Josu Jon Imaz (left), Lehendakari Juan Jose Ibarretxe (centre) and Eusko Alkartasuna president Begona Errazti (right)
Juan Jose Ibarretxe (centre) had hoped for bigger poll success
Discussions are under way in the Basque region of Spain to form a new coalition government following Sunday's election.

The ruling moderate Basque nationalists won more votes than any other party, but failed to gain an overall majority.

The BBC correspondent in Madrid says it is not going to be easy for the nationalists to find partners.

Co-operation with the Socialists could mean giving up plans for independence, whereas joining hardline nationalists could damage the party's reputation.

Batasuna, the political wing of the armed separatist group, Eta, was banned from taking part in the elections.

Call for change

The ruling moderate coalition, led by the Nationalist Basque Party's Juan Jose Ibarretxe, won 29 of the 75 seats, gaining just over 38% of the vote.

It lost four seats it won in 2001 elections, while candidates endorsed by Batasuna won a surprise nine seats.

The newly-formed Communist Party of Basque Lands, or Ehak, came fourth in the polls.

The BBC's Katya Adler in Madrid says the party appears to have mopped up the votes of supporters of the outlawed Batasuna party.

A woman walks past election posters in Tolosa, Spain
The little-known Ehak party won a surprise number of seats
Mr Ibarretxe's party had hoped that a strong showing in the elections would force the Spanish government to negotiate on a referendum on greater autonomy and the right to break away from Spain.

The secretary general of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Josune Aristondo, said all the main political parties in the Basque country, with the exception of the conservatives, agreed there had been a call for change.

"Our main aim is to enter a new phase of peace and political co-existence in the Basque country - the rest will follow," he said.

His party wants to see the introduction of Basque citizenship, an independent judiciary, penal system and direct representation at European Union meetings.

The Spanish parliament earlier this year rejected the plan, which Mr Ibarretxe says is the only way to stop Basque separatist violence.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Initial results show a boost for hardline nationalists



SEE ALSO:
Polls to test Basque ambitions
16 Apr 05 |  Europe


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific